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Zenith Plans $1,000 Integrated DTV

LAS VEGAS -Zenith announced during International CES that it plans to introduce the industry’s first integrated digital TV set expected to sell for less than $1,000.

Speaking at a seminar on HDTV, Zenith communications VP John Taylor said his company plans to sell a 27-inch 4:3 standard-definition digital set in the second half, priced at under $1,000. The company will follow that product with a 32-inch model that will sell for “slightly more than $1,000.”

Product specifics, such as whether the set will have a flat-faced picture tube and 480p scan rate capability, are still to be determined, Taylor said, but he added that the products will likely be very basic models.

The sets include all-format digital decoder/tuners designed to receive all 18 ATSC video formats, as well as an NTSC tuner to receive analog broadcasts. The signals are converted to meet the needs of the “SDTV” display. The sets offer QAM demodulation, enabling direct connection to digital cable systems, in addition to a VSB demodulator for over-the-air broadcasts.

“Technology has now progressed to the point that, for a relatively small price increment over conventional analog TVs, more consumers will soon be able to enjoy many benefits of digital television, [such as] snow-free, ghost-free pictures and CD-quality sound,” said Richard Lewis, Zenith research and technology senior VP. “Large HDTVs will always offer consumers the ultimate home theater experience, but widespread DTV deployment will require mass-market products at mass-market prices.”